Awesome! After DART spacecraft crashes into asteroid, ESA's Hera to check effect | Tech News

Awesome! After DART spacecraft crashes into asteroid, ESA's Hera to check effect of impact

ESA's Hera spacecraft will observe the aftermath of the collission of the DART mission spacecraft with the asteroid Dimorphos.

| Updated on: Sep 02 2022, 19:22 IST
What is an Asteroid? NASA defines what these dangerous objects in sky are
1/5 An asteroid is a small, rocky object hurtling through the sky. When seen in a telescope, an asteroid appears as a point of light, according to NASA. Most asteroids are found in a ring between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter called the asteroid belt. (Pixabay)
2/5 Asteroids have several shapes, they may be spherical, elongated, or oddly shaped. Some asteroids even have their own satellites! Asteroids also vary in size. From Vesta, the largest at about 530 kilometers in diameter, to asteroids that are less than 10 meters in diameter, they can be found in all shapes and sizes. (Pixabay)
3/5 Asteroids are also called minor planets. These celestial objects are the remains of the period during which our solar system formed, over 4.6 billion years ago. According to NASA, the current known asteroid count is 1,113,527. (HT_PRINT)
4/5 Asteroids can potentially threaten life on Earth. Apocalyptic movies like Deep Impact, Armageddon and Don't Look Up have always explored the ‘What Ifs’ of world destruction, with the most famous means of world destruction being asteroids crashing into Earth. (Pixabay)
5/5 To counter this, NASA had readied itself to potentially defend the planet against a very similar threat that is posed by asteroids by preparing the DART mission. It involves smashing a spacecraft into an oncoming asteroid at a speed of nearly 23,000kph. This knowledge will be used if an actual asteroid threatens to crash against the Earth. It will help avert an Armageddon on Earth and perhaps, even save humanity from extinction. (NASA)
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European Space Agency's Hera spacecraft will observe what kind of effect the impact of the DART spacecraft and Dimorphos asteroid had. (AP)

NASA's $240 million DART Mission spacecraft is all set to collide with its target asteroid Dimorphos on September 26. The mission was launched in November last year with the aim to smash a spacecraft into the asteroid Dimorphos and to deflect it away from its path. Although this asteroid is non-threatening for Earth, the NASA asteroid mission aims to carry out an experiment to gain greater knowledge as to what will happen if a craft is crashed against a space rock.

In yet another amazing revelation, the European Space Agency (ESA) has a follow-up mission to NASA's DART Mission in the works. The space agency will launch its Hera spacecraft which will travel to the same asteroid to observe the aftermath of the impact. According to ESA's blog, the Hera spacecraft will fly to the asteroid to survey the aftermath of impact and gather information such as the size of impact crater, the mass of the asteroid and its make-up and internal structure. Hera is a planetary defense mission under development in the Space Safety and Security Program of the European Space Agency.

Karim Mellab, Hera's Assembly, Integration and Test manager explained in the blog, The Hera team is currently in the midst of our Critical Design Review, which is the last mission's last major review before launch acceptance.”

“At the same time, we are working at such a compressed schedule – with the launch planned for October 2024 – that we are already advancing in construction and integration. The flight model of the Hera spacecraft is fast taking shape at OHB in Bremen, Germany, and at Avio in Colleferro, Italy. Meanwhile functional testing of mission systems is ongoing on OHB's Avionics Test Bench at Bremen,” he further added.

The spectral measurements of the asteroid will be conducted by the MilaniSAT aboard the Hera spacecraft. The CubeSAT satellite aboard the spacecraft will conduct a radar probe of the asteroid after the collision between the DART spacecraft and the Dimorphos asteroid. According to the ESA blog, both of these satellites have already passed their Critical Design Review along with the TIRI thermal infrared instrument.

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First Published Date: 02 Sep, 18:56 IST